June’s Question of the Month: If you could be gifted with any belly dance talent or skill, what would you choose?

written by Andalee on July 6, 2013 in Question of the month with 12 comments
Photo by Frank Kovalchek via Flickr

Photo by Frank Kovalchek via Flickr

When it comes to being a belly dancer, our learning never stops. There is always a new dance, a new style and a new skill to learn. In the course of our learning we find things that we a naturally good at and things that we have to work really hard for.

For me, I am naturally good at teaching, but with all natural talents it takes some work. However, I am not naturally talented at creating choreographies. It takes me a lot of time and effort. I must force myself to come up with them and I use my teaching as a tool to improve and create choreographies. As in, I teach class choreographies to my students so that I can practice making choreographies.

There are also physical skills that we are naturally gifted at and those for which we must work very hard. Sometimes it feels like all of the technique we learn is conquered by hard work and sweat! But if you think about it, there are things that come a lot easier to us than others. I remember that learning circular movements like hip circles, figure eights and rib cage movements were fairly easy for me; but learning other movements like spins and turns took much more work!

For me, I wish I was gifted with the skill of being awesome at finger cymbals (sagat or zills). It’s true that I should practice more–there’s no question about that!–but when I do practice, I really struggle. This isn’t something that comes naturally for me. It’s the whole moving my hands at one speed while my feet and body are doing something completely different that messes me up. I always thought I was musically gifted, but apparently not with percussion and not when I am dancing!

So what do our readers have to say?

If you could be gifted with any belly dance talent or skill, what would you choose?

“Greater flexibility.  There is so much more I could do if my hip and back flexibility where better — or if I’d not let it go to h*ll in my 20’s and early 30’s before I began belly dancing.  I’m working on it -but it’s a long slow road!” ~ Miriam

“Better flexibility, like when I had started as a teenager. I’ve hurt my body so many times and different ways that I think I’m a little afraid to go back full force though.” ~ Julianne via Facebook

“I wish I had the flexibility and full range of motion to be able to do floor work and raising up and down gracefully. Have  had to compensate my dance choreography to avoid injury and pain.” ~ Pamela

“Floorwork. I’m not as flexible as I was a couple of years ago. My knees have also gotten way worse.” ~ Olivia A-p via Facebook

“I have upper back problems and a very stiff neck. I wish I could do neck slides.  I can not do them at all.  Very little range of motion in my neck. Also wish I was more graceful. I don’t have natural,graceful, “flowy” movements.  A little more fluidity would be lovely.” ~ Missy

“I think the right answer for me could be “if I be re-gifted” and it would be the opportunity of be able to do again some things I do before a back surgery. I wish I could do some tribal steps that involves the back, I wish I could do the turkish drop again and steps like that, but the truth is I feel very gifted right now because I can dance again and actually the dance heal me back and teach me a new way to be comfortable with myself.” ~ Carolina

“The reason I began to study belly dance in my younger years was to try to learn how to create the beauty I saw in other dancers and cultivate a sense of that within my self.  I still quest for understanding of Beauty and to see it in myself so my answer has not changed….even though I have learned many invaluable lessons along the way.  Beauty!” ~ Karla

“Total control over my facial expressions, and the ability to really engage an audience with them.  I photograph a lot of shows, and I’m always amazed at the dancers whose faces look composed, pretty, and expressive in almost EVERY shot. Runners-up:  floor work and the ability to quickly learn complicated footwork!” ~ Barbara

“Belly flutters – I still can’t even work out where to start!” ~ Kayla

“I would FINALLY master the belly flutter! (Either that, or I want to be able to make my veil never ever get caught on my head again… perhaps with telekinesis.)” ~ Tracy

“Grace. Sometimes I feel like a moose with its foot stuck in the mud. Honestly.” ~ Ann via Facebook

“I would love to be a better teacher, especially when it comes to teaching beginners!” ~ Sara Beaman via Facebook

“Belady.” ~ Diane

“Confidence!” ~ Susan Morgaine via Facebook

Flexibility was certainly a theme, wasn’t it? I find that very interesting and I’d love to know more about why so many of us lack the flexibility we need and how inflexible dancers have overcome this challenge.

Other answers are simple and to the point. However, the solutions aren’t so easy!

What do you think? Leave your comments on what you wish you could be gifted or talented at…or feel free to post some advice!

Now, for July’s Question of the Month: What do you like best about the belly dance community? Answer here.

About Andalee

Andalee is the founder of Belly Dance at Any Size. She is an Oriental dancer and instructor from Durham, NC, now based in Montpellier, France. She has been dancing since 2005 and teaching since 2008. Her mission is to promote Oriental Dance (a.k.a. belly dance) as a respected and valid performance art.